Saturday, November 30, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

A couple of historic firsts occurred with RW #11. The first first was that this was the first issue to contain an interview with a real live band. While the veracity of some of the Goblins' claims is hard to ascertain, they certainly did exist in a physical or "real" sense. Another first was the introduction of a heavier cover and in glorious color. Well, one color anyway. Pretty fancy! From RW #11, 1998:

IDIOTORIAL

It's judgment day here at the Reglar Wiglar, people. What we've always suspected has been confirmed by the Corporate Big Wigs: this magazine is a sinking ship and something had damn well better be done about it.

The word came down from the head office that somebody had to go. Somebody's head needed to be put up on the chopping block. We needed to 'down-size' and 'outsource' and in layman's terms, 'shit can' some poor sap. But who? None of these people around here actually deserve to be employed. These people are sick. They're degenerates. None of them has earned the right to keep their jobs or the money they're paid matter how meager their wages are.

This was all beside the point though--a decision had to be made and I had to make it. I was the one who had to flip the proverbial coin. Actually, I did flip a coin. After throwing two darts at the employee roster taped to the wall in my office, I came up with two potential scapegoats: P.C. Jones and Muggsy McMurphy. I quickly decided, heads McMurphy's out, tails McMurphy's out. The coin was tossed and landed perfectly on its side. Amazing, a tie! Thinking on my feet, I quickly made up a new rule: in the event of a tie, McMurphy, OUT!

I felt bad, don't get me wrong. I'm not quite as heartless as I come off in these Idiotorials. Pretty damn close, but I'm not as heartless.

I got good reason for not feeling too guilty about firing McMurphy though. I mean, this is a guy who wears nothing but a loin cloth around his apartment. I know this is none of my business but to me that's just weird. This is a guy who's best pick-up line is, "If you have a boyfriend, I'll kill myself." Not exactly a charming individual.

I'm kind of surprised that a lot of these winos around here have lasted as long as they have and the only reason they have lasted this long is due to my own compassion . . . or stupidity. I haven't decided. But I had to make an example of somebody. I call it a sacrificial firing, a friendly firing if you will. This zine business is war and in war different rules of conduct apply. Sometimes you have to execute a couple of your own soldiers just to show the others what happens to deserters, traitors, or just the shiftless and lazy.

To be honest, there was no rational behind Muggsy being put on the chopping block as opposed to say, a Joey Germ or a Malcolm Tent, I was just in one of those, "I'm going to fire the next sorry son of a bitch I see" mood when McMurphy happened to traipse through the door with a sack full of White Castle Sliders and the biggest tub of diet soda money can buy. He was twenty minutes late for the fifty kazillionth time in a row. I wasted no time.

"Clean out your desk, McMurphy."

He just snorted that little stoner laugh of his. He thinks he's so goddamn cute.

"There ain't no gettin' this desk clean," he said, nodding his head in the direction of the most unsightly and dirty, fly-infested piece of office furniture in journalism. "Ain't no way."

"I said, clean it out McMurphy, not clean it up. You're fired.

That snapped him out of his purple haze.

"Fired, man?"

"Yeah, McMurphy, fired. You're unemployed. Good luck elsewhere. You're done."

"Fired? Why man? What'd I do? I didn't do nuthin'."

"You're late for one thing."

"Yeah, but I'm always late."

He had me on that one, but I had plenty of ammo.

"Well, you smell like Cheech and Chong for another thing, you write record reviews like Beavis and Butthead, you have absolutely no respect for your coworkers who have absolutely no respect for you, themselves or each other. This is a sinking ship, McMurphy, and the rates are the first to go."

When McMurphy turned on the water works I gotta admit I got a little choked up myself. I'm a sucker for that shit, but once I had him physically removed from the premises by security, his sobs were barely audible.

I don't know, you'd think that maybe one of his so-called friends and allies here at the office would go to bat for him, stick up for the guy, but hell no, mums the word form those fickle bastards. They're just happy it's him and not them. They know there's nuthin' keepin' them from gettin' the ax. I tell yah the whole thing makes me a little sick to my stomach. Where's that frickin' whisky bottle? Shit! McMurphy, you son of a bitch!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

Based on a true story. From RW#10, 1998:

BRUCE DICKINSON/PULLER
House of Blues, 9/16 Chicago
by Joey Germ

Now and then the phone will ring here at the office and sometimes, when it's not a bill collector or a telemarketer or Muggsy McMurphy's old lady calling in sick for him, it'll be someone from a record label wanting to know if anybody around here is interested in reviewing any of their bands' shows when they're in town. These bands seem to play mostly at places like the Dome Room. Due to a general lack of interest among the staff and the mediocrity of the bands themselves, we usually decline such invitations. That was until I got invited to see Bruce Dickinson at the House of Blues.

I had kind of unofficially vowed never to set foot in the H.O.B. Sure, I had heard the rumors of its intimate atmosphere which provided for an excellent setting to see live music: small, yet big, best sound system money can be thrown at, etc, etc., but somehow the whole thing just smacked of corporate motif—the whole House of Blues concept just reeked of money and drunk white businessmen. But this is Bruce "Run to the Hills" Dickinson we're talkin' about here, former singer for the Heavy Metal Rock Outfit, Iron Maiden. If ever I had to make an exception to a self-imposed rule this was the time. I had driven three hours in a Duster (or was it a Chevy Nova?) to see Iron Maiden back in '88 when Seventh Son of a Seventh Son hit the bins and I'll be damned if I couldn't spend twenty minutes on the Clark Street bus to see what Bruce was passing off as spectacle these days. I thought maybe, at the very least, Eddie would make an appearance. You remember Eddie? The skeleton guy, two hundred foot party dude that would rise from the back of the stage of Iron Maiden shows and mechanically grab shit and look scary but really fuckin' cool and was on all of Maiden's album covers...yeah, you know who I'm talkin' about, fuckin' Eddie! Besides, there was one sad and lost kid kickin' around the Wiglar offices who hadn't had his head banged in quite a long while. I invited Malcolm Tent to go with me.

The House of Blues lived up to my expectations with its closed circuit TVs, yuppie bar, suit-and-tie, contrived atmosphere and dozens of emotionless employee work drones. To say that these people were friendly and helpful would be absolutely ridiculous. I will cut 'em some slack though, a Bruce Dickinson crowd can get pretty ugly–hell, they come in ugly.

I tried to tell several different employees, who looked like they held some office of authority, if even just a little bit, that I was on the guest list. They suppressed interest and each one pointed in the direction of another employee I could ask. I saw a guy sitting behind a podium and figured, fuck it, this guy gets to sit behind a podium, he's got to know something. There's got to be some kind of responsibility that goes with that seat. Nope.

After wandering around like an idiot for several minutes, I found the "will call" window and shouted over the sound of Bruce to the woman inside. "I think I'm on the guest list for tonight's show," Well, I'll spare you a transcript of the various pleasantries that ensued, but to make a long, nightmarish story short; not only was I not on the guest list for the show, there was no guest list for the show. Did I make a scene? Hell no. Out of respect for Bruce, I accepted the situation immediately and quickly focused my thoughts on what to do in regards to the "Malcolm Situation." I knew that upon hearing this tragic news Malcolm would go apeshit.

I saw the poor guy standing over at the far corner of the lobby hypnotized by a closed circuit TV monitor, staring with mouth open wide. Bruce was there on the screen "workin' it" in a significantly smaller space than he had enjoyed back in the arena days of the 80s. There was no room for light gymnastics or fencing parleys in this House of Blues.

Malcolm's eyes were glazed—and not from that fat doobie he took down on the walk from the bus in ritualistic preparation for the evening's main course—he was in awe.

"When can we go upstairs?" he whispered loudly, never blinking or removing his eyes from the tiny Bruce on the television screen.

"In a minute, buddy, I just gotta use the can, then we'll go up and watch Bruce kick some ass. Okay, pal?"

"Okay, dude," was his reply. "Oh and dude, thanks for inviting me. This rocks."

"No problem, dude."

Five minutes later I was on a northbound 22 Clark and twenty minutes after that I was putting down a pitcher of Bud Light in some bar off Belmont feeling guilty for the smile that crept to my face when I thought about what kind of scene Malcolm was creating for House of Blues Security at that very moment. It's sad though when you think about it, but what are you gonna do? Fuck the House of Blues, anyway.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

This was the debut of my alter ego, Bastige Von Curr, in a column lovingly titled "I Hate Your Band, I Hate Your Zine." From RW#10, 1998:


DOWN WITH PEOPLE

By Bastige Von Curr

Hi. Bastige Von Curr here. I'm kind of a jaded and bitter zine hack and I've been told I should do a column for the Reglar Wiglar so I could share some of my pessimistic views and cynical perceptions of life with the rest of the world. I think that idea is absolutely brilliant as did the editor of this zine (not in those words-Ed). So for the first installment of "I Hate Your Band, I Hate Your Zine", I have chosen to address the People Problem. You know, people, and how there's too many of them.

It's no fricking secret that I hate people--can't stand 'em. So when I watch the news and read in the newspapers about all these married couples out there who are goin' crazy with the fertility drugs and the artificial inseminations and the freezin' the egg cells and whatnot, all in an effort to bring yet more people into the world, I cringe. And if this misguided effort to increase the population of this already overpopulated planet ain't enough, there's the biggest slap in my people-hatin' pucker; human cloning! How egocentric are we to think that we need exact replicas of ourselves runnin' around causing problems? We suck I say, and the world is damn lucky that there was only one of us made, for chrissake. One Einstein per century helping invent the A-Bomb is one too many, although talk about effective population control, eh? Hey, I know that's heavy, so frickin' sue me. Like I got money.

I know I'm a bitter old fuck (and I'm not even that old) but some people see the goodness in humankind and the benefits of cloning and I say, please, no more people on this miserable planet. You can't have your own kid in a natural way? That sucks, but let's draw the line at the freaky, sci-fi-come-true, evilness of human cloning. It's not the next logical progression in the evolution of the human species you frickin' half-wit. We've evolved way too much already. Back to the caves for us before it's too late. Let's clone fire and roast a wild pig.

And what if you have a kid that is your exact replica? Not the fruit of your loins or the fruit of your womb but, fuck it, it's you! Same nasty habits, same tendencies to be lazy and shiftless and you've got to kick your own ass to get it in gear? Unless of course they figure out a way to get rid of your bad genes, which they probably will. Try living with that, huh? It's you only without your faults. That's worse than you with your faults because it's the you, you could never be. It's the you your parents and friends wished you would have been. They won't have any use for the original you, 'cause lets face it, you suck, but the new and improved, genetically tinkered with you is like a gale force of fresh air for everybody who has ever met you. 

My head hurts now.

How would you introduce your kid to someone anyway?
"Hey, yeah, this is me, my kid."

Then the other guy thinks to himself, "Wow, two assholes instead of one. Will the miracles of modern science never cease to amaze?"

But back to my point about how I hate the human race, myself included. Let me tell you something, people, you ain't all that special to warrant the making of extra copies of your stupid ass to litter civilization with. There are too many people like you already and when I say people like you, I mean people in general. To reiterate my point in case you missed it, there are too many people and I hate them.

It's not necessarily our fault that we think we're so goddman special. No. They taught us very early on in our childhoods that we are all of us individuals. We are all of us unique. There are no two people like us made in the whole wide world, throughout all time and in the whole never-ending, ever-loving universe ever, ever, and ever, Amen. To which I must add: bullshit! I don't believe that's true anymore than I believe that no two snowflakes that ever fell to Earth in the last six billion years looked the same. Of course a couple of them looked exactly the same. Don't be silly, and get those probabilities out of my face. Don't give me math. You can bet your worthless ass that somewhere in the past couple thousand years of human history there was another pathetic asshole like yourself walking around the planet making other people miserable. Your friends were probably clubbin' you on the head in 2,000 B.C., buddy. 
There's millions of you people out there, they're called People and most of you have zines where you can spout off about the same sort of nonsensical drivel that I'm spouting off about now. Ironic, ain't it?

So let's face reality: there are too many people on this planet as of this writing. Sure, we got wars and disease and a shit load of natural disasters and El Nino to stem the tide of the human virus that plagues the planet. So let's get off this incredible ego trip of cloning ourselves. For the love of humanity, no more people! At least not until we get something going on the moon. If we can get a little colony action goin' on up there on the moon or on Mars, then go ahead, clone yourselves and send your other self to private school at Moon Rock University if that's important to you. Let's people other planets with our pathetic human pollution!

Whatever.

So while hospitals here in the US continue to set records for sets of twins born in a day and the Iowa Sextuplets or the Indiana Octuplets or the Pennsylvania Pack of Ten, or whoever, continue to make the news, I will sit here in my room and curse them all and pray for that meteor that will come someday and take us all away and I ain't talkin about Hale Bob and Nike's. I'm talking about a ten million ton rock travelin' at the speed of sound. Then this vain notion of cloning will all have been in vain and I can finally find some peace, I don't know where, but somewhere they don't got people. Until next time...

Friday, November 22, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

Another parody interview with Rockford, IL's whitest MCs. From RW#10, 1998:

WHITE BRED & HONKY MC

Keeping it Real (Stale) in '98

Interviewed by T. BONE

You could argue that rap music in 1998 has been gutted of any real social significance. You could make the case that rap has become bloated and blasé and therefore insignificant as a movement in music; that it simply celebrates the material and avoids the issues that continue to affect urban society and black culture and that which brought rap to the forefront in the first place. You could argue all these points if anybody wanted to hear about it and there ain't nobody 'round here that wants to do nothin' but shake their booty. With the Reglar Wiglar's national reputation for being somewhat unhip and yes, we can admit it, a little "whack" we were unable to get any legitimate rap acts to consent to an interview. We did however manage to, once again, get an interview with the notoriously desperate, terminally white rap group, White Bred & Honky MC. So... sorry.



RW: Hey guys, how the hell are yah? It's been awhile. I interviewed you guys back in '94 remember?

WB: Yeah, right man, right. So wassup, brotha'?

RW: Oh yeah, that's right, you guys think you're black. I forgot.

MC: It's all good though, you know. Keepin' it real, got to keep it real.

RW: So, I thought we lost you guys back there when the gangsta' rap thing was peaking and you two were nowhere to be found. What happened?

WB: Well, apparently some people felt that our shit wasn't as hard as some other stuff that was goin' down around about that time, you see.

MC: Yeah, the shit we were layin' down and the things we were sayin' in our rhymes about our struggles in the streets were fallin' on deaf ears in our community.

WB: Just 'cause we were—excuse me, are a couple of white brothers from the streets of Rockford, Illinois, people weren't hip to what we were sayin'.

MC: I to the L. That's right homey, just 'cause we from Rockford, I-L, and due to that fact that the color of our skin is a lighter shade of pale, the record industry felt that our rhymes were wack and somehow had no relevance in a late '90s type of musical situation.

WB: Let me ask you something bro, you heard our most recent record?

RW: Yeah, actually, I heard it at a party a couple of weeks ago.

WB: Ok, ok, then let me ask you this, are our rhymes wack?

RW: I don't know.

MC: You know that shit was the bomb, man.

WB: That's why the shit we cooked up for the nine-eight is heavy, funky, over the top, in your face, ya'll.

MC: White Bred and Honky MC definitely be in the motherfuckin' house in the nine-eight.

RW: Could you do me a favor and say ninety-eight instead of the nine-eight?

MC: Aiight! It ain't gonna be easy though.

RW: I understand, but please try.

WB: If we could bring this thing back to reality here and make an attempt to keep it real and get serious for a moment about this record. Our new album is about some heavy shit that went down in 1997. It didn't get shit for attention in the media but we had a homey who got it cut short back in the nine seven, sorry, back in ninety-seven. Little Big D.U.D.E. met up with his maker last year ya'll and me and the MC here, we had this idea to commemorate the brother's memory with a new jam.

MC: It's just our way of tippin' a forty to him metaphorically, or metaphysically or whatever you want to call it.

WB: We made this record to remember Little Big D.U.D.E., you know.

MC: Life is short ya'll. We just felt with this record that we had to give somethin' back to a man that inspired us, not so much musically but in they way he lived his life. To the limit. Goin' for that extra Twinkie when all the other brothers were sayin' they was done with the Twinkie. Big Daddy D.U.D.E. was that kind of brother.

RW: How did Big Daddy go out?

MC: He got hit by an ice cream truck.

WB: The same ice cream truck where he had just purchased several fudgecicles not two minutes before this incident took place.

RW: Kind of an ironic and tragic twist of fate, not to mention the human interest element, I suppose.

MC: Yes, but everything happens for a reason as the good lord can attest to.

WB: Amen, brother, keep it real.

RW: Are people still saying 'keep it real'.
 
WB: Shit, I don't know, aren't people still sayin' keep it real, homey?

MC: I don't know, White Bred. I gots to call some people on that one.

WB: We'll get back to you on the answer to that particular question, yo.

RW: Not to split hairs, but it's kind of ironic also that Puff Daddy had quite a bit of success last year immortalizing his friend, The Notorious B.I.G. in much the same way.

MC: Yeah, man this is very ironical, a very ironical type of situation where you get a couple of artists onto the same artistic idea at the exact same time. Life's funny that way, you know? But we couldn't get the rights to any of Sting's jams 'cause of legal reasons.

WB: Yeah, legally Sting ain't down with White Bred and the Honky MC. Apparently his management figured there wasn't any coin to be made bein' associated with the MC and myself, just bad press.

MC: But we're talkin' about a man's life you know? How can they be thinkin' of money when we just want to use Sting's name to get some records out there to the public so that we can all remember Little Big D.U.D.E.? We're talkin' about a man's life.

WB: Little Big Daddy D.U.D.E., we won't forget you Big Daddy.

MC: That brother could eat ya'll. That brother could eat a house.

WB: Amen. God bless Big D.U.D.E.

RW: All right moving on from the topic of Big Daddy D.U.D.E., if we may.

WB: All right we can move on but we got to keep mentioning him every five minutes. It's a contractual obligationary type of situation, you know, we're tryin' to promote our record here, you understand.

MC: We're artists, right.

RW: Right. I keep forgetting that for some reason.

MC: It's all good, baby, don't sweat it, baby.

RW: Let's not start with the "baby" thing all right?

MC: Damn, baby, it's cool.

RW: Back in the nine-three—shit, you guys got me sayin' it. Back in ninety-three, you guys were embroiled in controversy for sampling, not just other artist's music, but other artists samples of other artists and then in ninety-seven, it seems like you guys completely skipped the sampling aspect in favor of karaoke-style overdubs of your raps onto songs?

WB: Yeah, yeah, much easier, much quicker to get an album out.

MC: We didn't think creating music could get any easier than sampling until we busted out with that karaoke machine.

WB: In fact, we never really felt comfortable calling ourselves artists when we was just sampling but now it feels good, like the shoe finally fits, you dig?

RW: But isn't that just cutting more corners than you were before and giving your critics more ammo than ever?

WB: Look, somebody took the time to make a good jam, right? Who are we to say that there should be another jam out there that's better than that jam. Let's just use the jam that's there. People know the song, they recognize it. And if they're too young they'll think we wrote it and it will forever be associated with us by them.

MC: But we gave the song props by covering it so it's all good for every individual involved in the situation.

RW: Don't you think that alters music history just a little bit?

MC: Hey, it's not my job to educate the kids. I'm just making 'em buy records, ya'll gotta understand that. They're parents should be teachin' 'em that shit.

WB: What about music history, since you brought it up, these kids might have never heard that jam if we hadn't paid for it, put it out there for the people who don't know any better. Is it our fault if people are ignorant?

MC: Hey, we did our homework. We went out and found those songs for the karaoke machine our ownselves and found out who did it originally. It's not like they can't do a little research.

WB: Yeah, it's not like you can't read the little print on the CD, see who wrote the tune then go to the library or wherever or the Internet and research what other songs they wrote and what musicians originally recorded them and whatever. It makes music a challenge. It make it excitin' and shit.

MC: People are so damn lazy these days.

WB: Word.

RW: Any last words of wisdom.

MC: Yeah. I'll never forget what my boy Vanilla Ice once told me back in the nine-two, when we was just startin' out and he was, you know, doin' the opposite.

RW: And what was that?

MC: Save your money.

WB: Word.

RW: Alright, that's the interview guys. Maybe I'll check back with you guys in a couple of years and see how you're doing.

WB: Me and the MC would appreciate that, man. Keep it real 'til then aiight.

MC: Yeah, man, keep it real.

RW: I'll try.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MUSIC REVIEW: Cave, "Threace"

CAVE
Threace [Drag City

Let's just call Threace what it is. It's Jazz Fusion. That tag may have bad connotations in some people's little minds and maybe it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, but this is the heavy kind of funk and jazz meld that you used to hear drifting out of that dorm room at the end of hall (all mixed in with pot smoke filtered through a rolled up towel which smelled like bong water anyway.)

Like I said, Threace joins, or fuses, elements of rock, jazz and funk to create the five songs on this album. Now that we're all past that, let me tell you that I am no spelunker, but my past experience tells me that this is a much tighter and focused record for CAVE. They seem to have drifted further away from the drone and the psychedelic aspects of their earlier output. Maybe that has to do with the departure of their keyboard player and the addition of a second guitarist, or maybe it has to do with natural progression, or maybe both.

"Sweaty Fingers" is an extended opening exercise that kicks up and breaks down and kicks off again. "Arrow's Myth" is a bitch's brew of that funky stuff I was just talking about back a minute ago. "Shikaakwa" is just a bad-ass track with hypno-tizmic flute and funky repetition. "Silver Headband," is CAVE doing the kind of music that earned them all the CAN and Krautrock nods scant weeks and months ago. It has the drone, the unrelenting rhythm and the crunch of distorted guitars that break things up when things need to get heavy in the middle.

Listen to this just a little too loud. That's it. Review over. Thanks—Chris Auman

SONG OF THE DAY: Temples, "Mesmerise"

VIDEO: Gap Dream, "Shine Your Light"

Monday, November 18, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

Every once in awhile, ska makes some sort of comeback. It's about every 20 years or so. It doesn't happen as often as pop punk, but it's definitely cyclical to some degree. Anyway, the late 90s were in line with that cycle and ska bands were in fucking abundance. From RW #10, 1997:

SKATASTROPHE!

Interview by JOEY T. GERM

Hey everybody! According to my calendar (which is usually six months behind) 1997 is officially over. But what went with it you may ask? Well, Alternative Music for one thing. If you could please refer to that particular genre as Modern Rock from here on out it would be appreciated by the Music Industry. (It was a sly takeover, I know). Electronica, despite the nifty moniker, never really got a break in '97, unfortunately for everyone (it was the future of music, you know). Prodigy had to shock consumers into submission, but how long will that last we wonder? And then there was ska. Oh my skad. What with ska being the shit that's "moving units" these days and what with ska bands bein' a friggin' dime a dozen and all, we here at the Reglar Wiglar figured we better send a correspondent out to Southern California to cover one of them up and comin' ska bands.


RW: Hey, sorry about that guys, who'd I hit? Hey, are you guys perchance, a ska band?

Donny: Yeah, we're Skatastrophe. We're a touring ska band.

RW: Where are you guys from?

Fish: Rapid City, South Dakota.

RW: Aren't you supposed to be from Southern California?

Joe: Technically, I think we are.

John: To be a legitimate ska band, I think we are supposed to be from Southern California.

Mike: Someplace where the sun shines for at least 50% of the
year.

Michael: We got the heart and soul of a Southern California ska band though.

Paul: We're actually thinking of moving here when we get enough money saved up.

RW: You guys are making some good money touring though, right?

Roger: Yeah, but once we get paid for a gig, buy food, buy gas for the fleet of tour vans, pay for lodging and then divvy up the rest for miscellaneous travel expenses, souvenirs, etc.

Brenden: Souvenirs can get expensive.

Fitzy: Occasionally we'll have to send a van or two back to Rapid City to drop off all the junk we buy.

Peter: I collect magnets from all the different states.

RW: Wow.

Frankie: But once you pay for all the essentials and necessities, divide that up between all the members of the band, that doesn't leave much left over.

RW: I guess not. How many guys are in this band anyway?

Patrick: Quite a few.

Jason: Yeah, it's hard to say really.

RW: You got an approximate number you could give me?

Jason L: Not really. We used to do a head count before we got into the vans after every show but we kind of fell out of the habit after a while.

Jackie: I'm sure we lost a couple guys on the road somewhere.

Lonnie: I know there was another was another trumpet player that used to stand next to me at some point in the tour.

Rodrick: Was his name Spiffy? Something like that?

Chris: I think so. Yeah, that sounds right. Tall guy?

Ralphie: Wore two-toned shoes.

Lonnie: Yeah, that was him.

Sam: I haven't seen that cat since Kansas City, man.

RW: I don't think my high school graduating class was as big as this band, in fact, I'm sure of it.

Stevie: Yeah, it's a big party, but that's what ska is, man, it's a big party.

RW: Yeah, but you guys are more than a band, you're a scene. How'd you guys form, did you have a recruiting office or something, The Ska Corp, or what?

Bennett: Ska Corp. Wow, somebody write this shit down back there?

Little Petey: Ska Corp, got it!

Mumpy: You know the scene in Rapid City was so tight knit. It used to be divided, you know, there'd be maybe five or six ska bands all competing to get on the same bill when an out of town band would play. It seemed pointless and cut throat so we decided to unite and form one giant ska band to reach a common goal and bring our brand of ska to the world.

Karl: The only problem was once we got everybody in the band, that was it, there was no fan base. There was no one left tp come see the shows so we had to take it on the road.

RW: How'd you guys get signed? Did your label send somebody out to check you guys out or did you send them a demo or what?

Bigsby: Naw, it wasn't anything as complicated as that, we just called up the label office and got signed.

RW: No shit? How does that work?

Jimmy: I was the one that called actually. I talked to one of the secretaries at the label's front office and I said, "Hey, we're a ska band from Rapid City," and I was about to, you know, throw out some facts at her, like how long we've been playing together and how many songs we got, which was just two at the time, but I heard her shout to somebody in the background, "Ska band on the phone! Ska band on the phone!" Then she takes down our address and we get FedExed a record contract the next day.

RW: I guess they hadn't signed a ska band yet, huh?

Robbie: Apparently not.

RW: What was your particular brand of ska?

Stan: Just good time ska ska, you know.

Ralphie: Life affirming, feel good, get happy ska?

Bryce: Yeah, and glad to be alive, not taking anything for granted, knock on wood ska, too.

Greg: With a little bit of life's a party, don't worry about a thing, enjoy life ska thrown in for good measure.

RW: Why ska, why now?

Rod: The time is ripe for ska.

Burt: Alternative music was so boring and depressing. The whole "Why me? Poor, poor, little old me" outlook of alternative was such a bummer. Ska is the antithesis of that defeatist attitude.

Dougie: Ska is about being positive.

RW: It's still about conformity and acceptance though, right?

Dougie: Oh, of course, I mean, it is a trend after all, we are still subject to certain requirements and restrictions.

RW: What do you guys think when people say that ska is just male, testosterone-fueled frat boy wanna-be's and pumped up jocks who are just as into partying and being sexist and macho as they are into music.

Willy: I'd just like to say that I'll kick the fuckin' ass of the next faggot that says we have a jock or frat mentality. That's completely not true.

RW: Wow, you sure silenced those critics.

Willy: Fuckin' a right. Fuckin' sissies.

RW: Oookay.

Willy: But it's all about having a good time so fuck it. I love everybody.

RW: You guys got a video on MTV now, right? I got to admit it's pretty silly in a bad '80s video kind of way. Do you think that kind of turns the entire ska music scene into one giant laughable cartoon?

Wilson: It might, yeah, it probably does.

Fred: People are going to remember the end of the '90s for a lot longer than the beginning until people go back to the early '90s in the mid aughties? I guess is what you would call those years. It sounds so silly to say.

RW: It does when you say it anyway.

Max: At least we're not a hair band.

RW: Where'd that come from?

Max: I don't know.

RW: So, anyway, hypothetically speaking, when the whole ska thing blows over, like next month for example, what're you guys gonna do?

Louie: We'll, we've been taking about starting a small town in Iowa. We just need to meet the right female ska band.

RW: With the time ska has left, brothers, I don't think there's time for one to form. I gotta go, but thanks for the interview. Good luck with the ska thing.

Bobo: Thanks, man.

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

Ska was big in the 90s. Where do ya think we got No Doubt from, huh? From RW#10, 1997:

NAME YOUR SKA BAND

Hey, if you're thinking about forming a ska band, and let's face it, everybody is, here are some names you should avoid at all costs.

(Compiled by Ska Skaller, Tim "Rankin and Rude" Davison)

Skarate
Christopher Skalumbus
Shish Skabob
Skaleidoscope
Skamikazee
Skadaver
In Skahoots
Skalamari
Skalamity Jane
Skardiac Arrest
Skarcass
Genghis Skan
Skathartic
Skatholicism
Franz Skafka
Immanual Skant
Ayatollah Skamenie
Skaligula
Truman Skapote
Rock the Sskabah
Wiskansin
Great Skat!
Microskapic
Skaff Laws
Skarlet Letter
Skammon Sense 


VIDEO: Ty Segall, "The Man Man"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

One more time. From RW#9, 1997:

WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE ROCK STAR?
Researched by Joey Germ

We all have our favorite rock stars; singers with whom we identify, feel a certain affinity towards, musicians whose music we turn to in our times of need. They comfort us and give us hope. Who we chose as our role models often tells us a little something about ourselves and what kind of people we are. Who is your favorite rock icon? If it's one of the following, you might find out a little something about yourself that you may or may not have already known.

MARILYN MANSON
You seem to possess an inexplicable charisma that appeals mainly to the lowest common denominator. You feel the need to draw attention to yourself by shocking people with your outrageous style and antics, all the while defending your motives with the excuse that you are holding up a mirror to the society of which you are a product. You're probably just tired and need a map.

JEWEL
You are down to earth, rugged and tough, yet vulnerable. You're still very much a little girl who likes to wear her favorite pair of jammies to bed. You are a hopeless romantic who could burst into tears at any moment, or at least it looks like you could burst into tears at any moment. Let it out. It's ok. You'll feel better.

GWEN STEFANI
You're just a girl in this world. You are energetic and enthusiastic and very easily excited. You are spontaneous and don't have time to think too much about heavy stuff. You like boys and relationships and getting flowers and gifts and if you weren't so driven to be the object of everyone's affection you'd probably just settle for the title of Gavin's Girlfriend

GAVIN ROSSDALE
You are sexy, good looking, charismatic, intelligent, very successful—if only you had talent, you could justify it all. You put on the personae of being an angry, young man, full of angst and frustration, but that won't pay the bills for too much longer. If you weren't so driven to be the object of everyone's admiration, you'd probably just settle for the title of Gwen's Boyfriend.

FIONA APPLE
Worldly and wise for your years. Jaded and untrusting. You should eat better.

SONG OF THE DAY: Angel Olsen, "Forgiven/Forgotten"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pop Culture Parasite: Get on Your Phone and Pray!

Pop Culture Parasite: Get on Your Phone and Pray!: Have you ever been at a loss as to what to pray about, or who to pray for? Devastating natural disasters are plentiful enough, but so...

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

This interview was intended as a parody of the Chicago band, Veruca Salt. I think it was based on an interview I read in which they discussed their intent to be a huge arena band. A few years down the road there would be a real band with the same name which, like the name Veruca Salt, was taken from a Roald Dahl book. From RW#9, 1997:

VERMICIOUS KNIDS

Vermicious Knids Go Arena Rock

Interview by JAYNE WAYNE

Thank god that whole drab and droll alternative music thing is over and done with. How passé. Pretending to want to be unpopular, trying to look like you're not concerned with selling out or being successful. Heroin chic? Pu-leeze! Why on God's green earth would anyone want to be an unsuccessful, junkie-looking burnout? Why wouldn't you want as many people as possible to hear your record? Why wouldn't you want to make a living selling out huge stadium venues to a faceless crowd of thousands? Thank God alternative rock is over. Bring back arena rock. Bring back the wall of sonic power, the flicking Bics®, the rock star posing, the outright decadence of decades past and let's start this mother up all over again. Woo hoo!

Always the first to jump on the bandwagon and beat a trend to it's bloody end, The Reglar Wiglar has once again rushed to interview the prima donnas of the new age of Big Guitar Rock: Vermicious Knids (an literary reference). Jayne Wayne caught up with the band backstage at the Grant County Memorial Riverfront Fair Ground Center Stage A in Grant County, Iowa, minutes before they were to send their crushing guitar riffs into the rich agricultural soil of America's farmland and rock the children on the corn.



RW: Why don't we start with a quick band history, tell us about your stint as virtual nobodies.

Cindy: Oh God, talk about painful memories.

Jodi: Those were definitely the salad days.

RW: What was it like in the underground back in the mid '90s? Was it totally scary?

Cindy: It was grueling. It totally sucked. We had to play these small clubs to three, four hundred people and we stayed at Days Inns and Motel Sixes and wherever.

Jodi: Yuck, with their cruddy little bars of soap that leave your skin dry and flaky ... that's bullshit.

Cindy: And talk about zero water pressure in the shower.

Jodi: But we did it and we did it without complaining that much.

Cindy: Yeah, we really didn't complain too much.

Jodi: But after struggling in the underground as an indie rock band for weeks and weeks and weeks, the band—or Cindy and myself rather—we're forced to ask the question, "What's it all worth, anyway?"

Cindy: We just realized that in 1997 being an indie rock band wasn't cool anymore.

Jodi: What we really realized was that we weren't an indie rock band anyway. We never really were. We were always an arena rock band pretending to be an indie rock band. We just didn't know it. We thought we had to pretend to be indie and be concerned about having credibility and paying dues. We really only wanted to be tremendously huge rock stars. We've always just wanted people to love us, emulate us, worship us—

RW: —buy your records.

Jodi: Yeah, totally buy our records.

Cindy: In the beginning we thought it was just about the music.

RW: Really? Wow.

Cindy: Yeah, we were kind of naive in that sense. It's almost kind of embarrassing to admit now.

Jodi: It was really hard for us to be this "ethical band" thingy. To have credibility, it was just very, very stifling.

Cindy: Credibility is the death of inspiration for us. Believe us we tried, but we're just much more comfortable when we can be ourselves, you know, really, really cool and popular.

Cindy: Our egos never were very comfortable under the hot lights of a small club.

Jodi: Too many gross indie rock guys, please.

Cindy: Eeewww!

RW: So how did you go about making the transition from indie to arena rock band?

Cindy: It was easy, we just went to our label and told them, "Look, we're getting a lot of shit from the indie community about not being indie enough, is there anything we can do?" and they were like "Don't worry about it. It's done." And they fixed it and here we are, an Arena Rock band in the '90s. Kinda weird, huh?

RW: No, that's great that they could do that for you.

Jodi: Yeah well, they have a potential gold mine on their hands here, so they had better be accommodating, you know?

RW: Sure. What about the other two members of The Knids? It seems like they rarely get to show up for the interviews. In fact, I don't think I've ever even heard them speak.

Jodi: They don't really get to speak.

Cindy: I don't really even remember what they look like... just kidding

Jodi: That was a part of our record contract, actually, Bill and Ted don't talk.

RW: Bill and Ted? I thought it was Brad and Kevin?

Jodi: That's just what our A&R guy calls 'em, Bill and Ted. Isn't that funny?

RW: What's your label guy afraid of, that Bill and Ted won't jell with your image?

Cindy: Wow! That's like an exact quote of what he said.

RW: That strikes me as a little cold.

Cindy: Christ, they're the fucking rhythm section, what do they know about anything?

Jodi: Believe me, they're getting paid.

Cindy: Besides, like the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. You know what? It's true.

Jodi: We had this bass player once who had all these opinions about music and suggestions and stuff and well, that didn't really work out so well.

Cindy: Yeah, this guy actually had the nerve to suggest a change in one of the songs we were teaching him.

Jodi: That's like the dishwasher tasting the soup-of-the-day and then telling the chef, "it's good but it needs a little salt."

Cindy: Can you believe that? The whole male ego thing is sooo frustrating.

RW: So, in about a half hour you're going out there to play in front of a couple thousand people, how does that feel?

Jodi: Well, it's only Iowa. We've got some better shows comin' up a little later in the tour, but yeah, its' OK.

Cindy: It has never been one of my childhood dreams to rock out in a cornfield, but hey, these farm kids need to be rocked too, I guess.

RW: What was the reaction in the indie community when you guys made this conscious decision to leave the indie rock circuit and become committed to a more polished, produced musical approach?

Jodi: They dis us in their pretentious, self-righteous little zines.

RW: Ouch. Are there any bands out there right now that you ladies are into that you might be interested in bringing on tour with you?

Jodi: The Woodrows are cool. I think they've got a really interesting approach to music.

Cindy: They've got a really good act, you know, a parody of a stupid, nihilistic, punk rock band bent on excess. I like that kind of retro thing. And besides that, they're cute.

RW: You're not serious!

Cindy: I'm totally serious. I know they have that kind of "ugly" look going, but you can tell that it's not real.

RW: I've met The Woodrows and believe me, it's no act, retro or otherwise, they're ugly and they're for real.

Jodi: Oh my God! Cindy asked Marvy Woodrow to go out with her. We met them in Boston at a hotel where we were both staying.

Cindy: He was so funny. I saw him in the hallway by the vending machines and he was pretending to zip up his pants, and he said "Whoops, you just busted me pissin' in the ice machine," and I thought, "Wow, this guy is really funny."

RW: That's sounds like Marvy. He's not even allowed in hotels anymore because of the type of incidents you just described.

Cindy: I asked him to go out with me the next time they're in town which is going to be next week.

RW: Jesus, you've got to be kidding me.

Cindy: I'm not.

RW: Girlfriend, you have got to change your locks, your phone number and possibly your name—and call the police immediately after the show.

Cindy: You're joking.

RW: I am dead serious.

Cindy: Oh my God.

(The Vermicious Knids tour manager walks in to check up on the band's better half and see if they need anything before the show.)

Cindy: This is Jacques, our tour manager. Say hi Jacques, He's so shy.

Jacques: Hi.

Cindy: Oh, Jacques, could you please run up to Miffy's and 
pick me up a tube of Tre Rouge #110, Not #115, Jacques, #110.

Jodi: Oh, Bunny, that sounds so silly.

Jacques: I don't think they have a Miffy's in this part of Iowa.

Cindy: K-Mart then, for Christ's sake, Jacques, please.

Jodi: Yeah, we like make-up and being girls and rocking really hard and make-up and stuff.

Cindy: It's so frustrating being a woman in rock in the '90s, 'cause everyone expects you to be this, like femi-Nazi riot grrrrl. Why can't we just be ourselves and indulge in make-up and chocolate and boy talk? We get shit for that.

RW: That doesn't sound right.

Jodi: It's like sorry, I shave my arm pits and I can't be a cave woman with you, but hello.

RW: Well, where you're at, I guess it doesn't matter what anybody thinks of you anyway. You're beyond that now. You're an Arena Rock band, nobody can touch you.

Cindy: You're Fuckin' A right on that one, Jayne.

BOOK REVIEW: God is Disappointed in You

GOD IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU
Written by Mark Russell
Cartoons by Shannon Wheeler

I have finally read the bible. Praise, Jesus! My first attempt at reading this book was abandoned pretty early—like midway through Genesis early. I quickly became hopelessly bored after the 200th "begat". A few years ago, thanks to R. Crumb, I did make it through Genesis, but even that was no walk in the garden, so to speak. It is probably not surprising either, that after roughly 15 years of forced church going, I was pretty close to being totally ignorant of just what the heck went on in this book. (Some pretty crazy shit is what the heck.) Now before you get too proud of me, let me just say that I didn't actually read the whole unabridged version of the Bible, but I did read the pithy 200 plus pages of Mark Russell's God is Disappointed in You and that counts. While this Mark Russell is certainly a satirist, he is not the piano playing political comedian, Mark Russell, you may be thinking of. No, this Mark Russell is actually funny (sorry other Mark Russell).

God is Disappointed in You boils down the essence of each and every book of the Bible, Old and New, into small digestible morsels. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and yes, by the very fact that it exists, it is irreverent, but it's the good kind of irreverence, not the sacrilegious, blasphemous variety. It's more like a gentle, good-natured ribbing to remind us what ridiculousness appears in these allegorical tales. It doesn't read like an atheist's jab at the Christian tenets of faith. The Richard Dawkins version would be very different, and humorless. This is just a lighthearted romp through hundreds of years of blood, gore, enslavement and miscellaneous human suffering. Whether you’re a fan of religion (this one or that one), a skeptical atheist or a wishywashy agnostic, whether you are Pat Robertson or  Bill Maher,  this is simply a hilarious book that keeps the morality intact. (More so the New Testament, the O.T. is just bananas, quite frankly.)

The cartoon illustrations were provided by Shannon Wheeler, whose work you may recognize from the New Yorker and his long running Too Much Coffee Man series.

Chris Auman



VIDEO: Bronchos, "Try Me Out Sometime"

Saturday, November 02, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

The term "alternative" kinda got co-opted in the 90s. Yeah, companies started slapping that label on all kinds of different stuffs. That's really what killed good music in the 90s. That and really shitty bands. Turns out, it never really mattered in the first place. It was all just words, like the ones below. From RW#9, 1997:

Did this man kill Alternative Music?
If so, did he act alone?
ALTERNATIVE ROCK DEAD

JAYNE WAYNE, Reglar Wiglar Staff Writer

CLEVELAND—A nation of young, hip and disillusioned rock music fans grieved openly today upon hearing the news of the tragic death of Alternative Music. Thousands of Generation Xers and hip Baby Boomers struggled to come to grips with the loss of their chart-topping friend. At 12:01PM, Tuesday, August 26, Alternative Rock Music died due to complications from massive hemorrhaging leaving the nation that gave birth to rock and roll, numb and confused.

The direct cause of death of Alternative Music, or Adult Contemporary as it was known to some, has been attributed to over-saturation of the market, and has been linked more specifically to one particular Alternative band and the release of their debut album.

At 12:01PM, August, 26th, the Cleveland based Alternative Rock group, Nerd Pipe, released their major label debut, ironically titled Whatever. The Alternative Market reacted violently to the album's release and its immune system immediately rejected it. Nerd Pipe and their record was the last drop in an already full bucket resulting in the death of the genre. "The strain was too great," said one record company executive who wished to remain anonymous to Wiglar reporters. "We knew it was only a matter of time before it blew up, but we figured we could try to break on or two more new artists before it all came crashing down on top of us." That was not the case.

The Alternative genre was born in 1991 with the release of Nevermind, an album by Seattle Grunge Rock outfit Nirvana. This one record with its grungy guitars, sandpaper vocals and disenfranchised lead singer, screaming lyrics laden with angst and alienation in a society becoming more and more isolated as we reach the end of the millennium, struck a power chord with the dissatisfied Generation X demographic, resulting in phenomenal album sales and seemingly overnight success for the band. Subsequently, Alternative Rock Music flourished. The Alternative or Adult Contemporary Market, lived a full and fruitful life, dominating the Billboard music charts for much of its six year history. Car, clothes and credit card companies were all able to cash in on the alternative craze by using this newly invented youth culture to appeal to the fierce individuality of the tattooed and pierced masses that patronized them in their uniform of combat boots, goatees and interesting hair cuts.

FANS PAY TRIBUTE TO DECEASED GENRE

B.S. BROWN, Special to the Reglar Wiglar

TINLEY PARK—Thousands of fans draped in flannel gathered today at the New World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois, site of a 1992 Blind Melon concert, to mourn the death of an old friend. The grieving fans paraded past the sight where Dexter Holland of the punk rock/alternative crossover band The Offspring once publicly urinated, throwing their multiple ear and nose rings into a great pile in homage to the once great unit shifter. The jewelry pile will be melted down and molded into one gigantic nose ring for the Teddy Roosevelt bust on Mount Rushmore as a lasting tribute to the Alternative Rock Era.

There were mixed feelings among the throngs of sobbing mourners. Twenty-six year old, Tony Lincoln, who drove in from Grand Rapids, Michigan to pay respects, remembered the positive things about alternative music. "Just think of all the good things that came out of Alt. Rock," Lincoln said through hopeful tears. "Stone Temple Pilots, Sponge, Silverchair... we have the Verve Pipe now and nobody can ever take that away from us... ever."

Some fans were not so optimistic, "It's not fair," complained seventeen year old Shawna Stadden of Schaumburg, Illinois. "I never got to see a Lollapalooza."

Some young people were not afraid to look to the future. Confused, yet hopeful, Brian Parker of South Bend, Indiana saw promise in the road that lies ahead, "I've heard ska is cool," Brian told this magazine. Yes, Brian, ska is very cool.

What lies ahead for corporate music is unclear. With techno and dance trends, electronica and ska, and everything retro still up for grabs, one thing remains certain, there are many markets to be exploited, but no matter what the future brings for the millions who made alternative music the power market that it was, we will never forget the one band that started it all, the name of which escapes me right now.

Friday, November 01, 2013

REGLAR WIGLAR 2OTH ANNIVERSARY 1993-2013

A parody of Rollings Stones' monthly double page spread, "Random Notes." Rolling Stone and Spin were frequent targets, easy and deserving as they were. Note the old school, crappy looking cut and paste method. Respect! From RW#8, 1997: